Hidden portrait of the Queen with 'a too long neck' finally goes on display after 61 years

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

John Napper's portrait was criticised for being a poor likeness of the young Elizabeth

A portrait of the Queen hidden from public view for 61 years has finally gone on display today.

John Napper’s portrait of the Queen was commissioned to mark her accession to the throne in 1953 by Liverpool Corporation, but the council rejected the painting as not a good likeness - the main criticism being that her neck was too long.

Napper later conceded that it was "a beautiful painting of a Queen, but not this Queen".

Liverpool Corporation instead commissioned Edward Irvine Halliday to paint another picture which is still on display today in Liverpool Town Hall.

A campaign has been underway within National Museums Liverpool to bring back the original Napper painting to St George’s Hall.

The painting is now on display on the third floor staircase next to the Grand Jury room where Citizenship ceremonies take place on a regular basis.

Napper, who died in 2001 aged 84, also painted Lady Churchill during the 1950s.

Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “It’s wonderful that the original portrait has been installed in the Hall and it will be one of the first paintings people see if they come to get married, have a civil partnership or attend a citizenship ceremony.

“Whatever your views, it’s a real talking point and I’m sure it will generate lots of debate in its new home.”

The unveiling of Napper’s portrait comes just days after the first official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge was roundly panned by the critics.

Paul Emsley's portrait of the former Kate Middleton, 31, was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in London to mixed critical response.

The Independent’s Michael Glover called it “a catastrophe”, writing: “It is a face which is beginning to look just a touch dropsical. It sags a little, ageing it needlessly. The cheeks incline towards the hamsterish. And what of this - ah! - hair? It is hair whose featheriness has been borrowed from an advert for shampoo."

Daily Mail art critic Robin Simon said:"I'm really sad to say this is a rotten portrait."

Guardian arts writer Charlotte Higgins said that Kate's mouth looked clenched, her eyes looked dead, and that the whole thing had "sepulchral gloom" about it.

"Kate Middleton is — whatever you think of the monarchy and all its inane surrounding pomp — a pretty young woman with an infectious smile, a cascade of chestnut hair and a healthy bloom," she said. "So how is it that she has been transformed into something unpleasant from the Twilight franchise?

Click here or on "View Images" for more portraits of the Queen

Queen portraits:

George Condo: Dubbed the Cabbage Patch Queen, Condo's 2006 painting was dismissed as "embarrassingly  bad" by the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. The Tate Modern said it was "interesting".

Annie Leibovitz: The end result was stunning, but Leibovitz's 2007 photograph, featured in a BBC documentary, pictured, was mired in controversy. "She couldn't be bothered and I admired her for that," Leibovitz said.

Antony Williams: The Queen was understood to have hated this 1996 portrait, which aged her and gave her "sausage fingers". But it was in keeping with the artist's honest and sober style.

Lucian Freud: This effort from 2001 divided the critics. Some said Freud had "got beneath the powder". Another claimed "the neck would not disgrace a rugby prop forward".

Terence Cuneo: Though Cuneo is more renowned for his paintings of railways and military scenes, his appointment as the official artist for the Queen's Coronation yielded pleasing results.

Rolf Harris: The musician and TV presenter's 2005 portrait was described as "unflattering". Harris wanted to portray a friendly and humorous Queen. "I've done the best I can," he said.

By Liam O'Brien

Arts and Entertainment

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Metallica are heading for the Main Stage at Reading and Leeds Festivals next summer

Music

Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain's daughter Frances Bean Cobain is making a new documentary about his life

Music

Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp

TV Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp

Arts and Entertainment
TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tvThe two new contestants will join the 'I'm A Celebrity' camp after Gemma Collins' surprise exit
News
The late Jimmy Ruffin, pictured in 1974
people
News
Northern Uproar, pictured in 1996
people

Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the new Paddington bear review

Review: Paddingtonfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Tony stares at the 'Daddy Big Ears' drawing his abducted son Oliver drew for him in The Missing
tvReview: But we're no closer to the truth in 'The Missing'
Arts and Entertainment
Henry Marsh said he was rather 'pleased' at the nomination
booksHenry Marsh's 'Do No Harm' takes doctors off their pedestal
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking in new biopic The Imitation Game

'At times I thought he was me'

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
One Direction go Fourth: The boys pose on the cover of their new album Four

Review: One Direction, Four

music
Arts and Entertainment
'Game of Thrones' writer George RR Martin

Review: The World of Ice and Fire

books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Bean will play 'extraordinary hero' Inspector John Marlott in The Frankenstein Chronicles
tvHow long before he gets killed off?
Arts and Entertainment
Some like it hot: Blaise Bellville

music
Arts and Entertainment
A costume worn by model Kate Moss for the 2013 photograph

art
Arts and Entertainment

music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
    Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

    24-Hour party person

    Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
    Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

    A taste for rebellion

    US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
    Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

    Colouring books for adults

    How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
    Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
    Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

    Call me Ed Mozart

    Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
    10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
    Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
    'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

    'I am a paedophile'

    Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital